If it seems like everyone you know is having a baby this summer, it won’t surprise you to learn that the biggest number of babies are born between June and September. With the cost to raise a child from birth to age 17 topping out at $287,000, new parents are looking to save money anywhere they can.
Unfortunately, the six-figure number mentioned above doesn’t include pregnancy and delivery costs. You’ll need around $15,000 for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery (no insurance) and the following basics:
- Car seat: $100
- Clothing: $50
- Diapers: $72 (one-month supply)
- Wipes: $20 (one-month supply)
- Crib with mattress and sheets: $230
- Bottles and formula (unless breastfeeding) – $165 (one-month supply of formula)
Add in the extra cash Mom and baby need during the first couple months, and the grand total is around $17,400. Ouch!
Obviously, obsessing over these numbers isn’t going to help anything, so you’re better off coming up with an approachable plan. To keep from spending more on your newborn than necessary, consider these seven tips from Maisie Knowles on how to save money on your bundle of joy.
1. Buy Used
Craigslist makes it easier than ever to find gently-used baby furniture, strollers and infant seats. Just be sure to inspect these items carefully for necessary safety features since older models won’t have such things as crib spindles and rocker locks. You can also score great savings on these items at thrift shops, but you might have to be a little more picky.
2. Try Consignment
In addition to cribs and other furniture, consignment stores are a great resource for finding affordable baby clothes. Since infants grow like weeds, you’ll often find brand-new items with the original tags still attached. Even better, you can trade the clothes your baby inevitably outgrows for credit toward larger sizes.
3. Go Online for Diapers and Wipes
Newborns go through 10-12 diapers daily, so it’s critical to have a hefty supply of these essentials. Join Amazon Momfor 20-percent off these items and put everything on auto-delivery so you don’t have to worry about ordering again and again. As a new account holder, you’ll receive Amazon Prime benefits for three months, including exclusive discounts and free two-day delivery.
4. Load Up Your Registry
Register for as many items as you think you’ll need, and then some. Stores like Babies ‘R Us will offer you a discount on remaining registry items once your baby is born. Additionally, you’ll automatically receive a Babies ‘R Us V.I.B. card(very important baby – cute!) which you and your family and friends can load up with funds. Babies ‘R Us will match 10 percent of each dollar loaded to the card, offering you extra cash for diapers, wipes, formula and baby food.
5. Don’t Forget Batteries
I have this theory that toy manufacturers and battery companies are conspiring to drain parents of every dime we make. Everything requires batteries and it seems like they need replacing on a weekly basis. The baby swing I had for both of my daughters is a prime example of this; the product was a Godsend but the price for the batteries was truly evil. Luckily, new parents will soon have a resource in BatteryBabe.com, a fledgling site dedicated to finding the best price on any kind of battery imaginable.
5. Avoid Nonessentials
The baby industry is like the wedding industry, chock-full of pricey things you just don’t need. A changing table is unnecessary when your chest of drawers and changing pad will do. A baby wipe warmer is the equivalent of a hard-boiled egg slicer—really? And though baby laundry detergent sounds important, the detergent you’re using now will do just fine for your newborn, though you should certainly chat with your pediatrician about soap ingredients to avoid.
6. Ask Around
Once you announce your pregnancy, friends and neighbors will likely offer you baby stuff their kids have now outgrown. Be sure to take people up on their offers to help, and if you need something just ask. Even if you buy things off your friends, you’ll get them for much less than you’d pay at a store. A friend of mine bought a stroller and carseat duo from a friend for just $200.
7. Join a Co-Op
A babysitting co-op, that is. If you don’t have one within your network or neighborhood, consider getting something organized to offer fellow moms a break without straining their already tight budgets. To make things easy, the babysitting co-op I’m part of gives out tokens to each mom, and each sitting job costs one token. When I need a sitter, I call around and schedule it with a willing mom and vice versa.
Parenting expert Maisie Knowles shares money-saving tips with Moms-to-be.